Fox is breaking its silence on its Apu controversy.
And their stance is basically: Don’t ask us.
Fox chairman and CEO Dana Walden was asked by reporters about the controversy over the decades-old character (voiced by Hank Azaria) which has been increasingly criticized as coming across like an offensive stereotype.
“We have had the conversation with [executive producer] Jim Brooks and his team and we’ve basically left it up to them,” Walden said. “They’ve treated the characters with so much respect. We trust them to handle it in a way that will be best for the show … ultimately we decided that would be their decision.”
The show’s previous cavalier attempt to address the controversy last season was met with backlash from some fans. In an episode, Lisa declares, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” As she says that last line, she looks at a nearby picture of Apu featuring Bart’s catchphrase, “Don’t have a cow!”
Walden said she wasn’t surprised by the reaction, but it will factor in the producing team’s response.
“In a day of social media where fans are able to have a public forum, I can’t say ultimately we were surprised,” she said. “I think it’s good information for the creators to receive … they focused on the reaction and I think that’s partially informing how they will move forward.”
Walden also assured that The Simpsons isn’t ending anytime soon, despite being a rather expensive series at this point — even with Disney about to take over. “There’s no consideration of not ordering more Simpsons,” she said.